Our Teachers

Eileen Giles

Stream Coordinator and Lecturer in Radiation Therapy

Eileen GilesWhat led you to a career as an educator and researcher?

Initially, an opportunity as a casual tutor 10 years ago gave me a taste of teaching in my discipline as a clinician. Undertaking postgraduate study was also a factor in developing a love of learning and also facilitating the learning and enquiry of others.

What attracted you to work at the University?

The main attraction was the opportunity to contribute to the training of future health professionals by applying my clinical knowledge and experience. UniSA encourages innovation and the development of a curriculum that engages students with active learning experiences, which is a good fit with my approach to teaching also.

What are your teaching interests?

I teach and coordinate the radiation therapy discipline specific content in the radiation therapy program. I am particularly interested in the use of simulation, experiential learning and authentic tasks to engage students with the curriculum.

And research interests?

I am interested in the development of national competency standards for radiation therapy graduates. I have supervised a number of radiation therapy Honours projects and have been successful in gaining funding for educational and research projects including National clinical assessment, the use of Simulation in Medical Radiation Science, the implementation of VERT [Virtual Environment Radiation Therapy Training Suite], Advanced practice in Radiation Therapy and a clinical trial investigating the topical use of Callendula for breast cancer patients.

In what way does your work benefit the community?

Hopefully I am contributing to the training of health professionals who will ultimately be safely and effectively delivering treatment to cancer patients.

What inspires your work?

Seeing our graduates come out as competent and work-ready radiation therapists and seeing the development of skills over the course of the program.

Dr Maurizio Costabile

Senior Lecturer

Maurizio CostabileWhat led you to a career as an educator and researcher?

I have always been fascinated with science. I still remember the first experiment I did in primary school. We had to inflate balloons to different degrees and then measure how long it took for them to travel along a piece of string. Not immunology, but it still intrigued me at the time. Since that point science was always my favourite subject.

During my University studies, I had formal training in immunology and was fascinated by this army of protectors that we each have to defend us on a daily basis. I wanted to share my excitement and passion for this area of biology with others.

What are your teaching interests?

My principal teaching involves biochemistry, which I co-teach, and immunology that I teach solely. I also provide guest lectures for other staff, with an emphasis on immunology either at the first year level, through to the fourth year advanced level. I enjoy the challenge of taking a complex concept, and through the use of analogies, simplifying it for students so they have a better understanding.

Congratulations on being nationally recognised for your outstanding contribution to student learning. Tell us a bit about receiving this recent award and your successes?

Thank you. This award acknowledges my ‘sustained commitment to educating undergraduate Immunology students through supportive, engaging and innovative teaching approaches that make learning possible.’ Each year I evaluate my previous years teaching experience and I try to identify areas for improvement and set myself the challenge to introduce a new approach or mode of teaching that may enhance my students learning, not just in immunology, but things that can be applied to other courses. However it is important to then evaluate these new approaches to really determine their benefit.

For example, I introduced and then assessed the impact of mind maps on student learning. Our research has shown clear benefits of this approach to student learning and student outcomes. Importantly, this approach is also something the students can apply to any course in the future.

What are some of your research interests?

My PhD revolved around examining the effects of fatty acids, such as fish oils, on regulating the immune system. This work then evolved into examining the effects of chemically engineered derivatives as potential modulators of the immune response in inflammatory diseases. Since then I have investigated how fatty acids can modulate the effects of an enzyme involved in cancer cell evasion from the immune system. Complementary to this work, I have recently joined the Molecular Signalling research group at the Centre for Cancer Biology.

In what way does your work benefit the community?

My work on cancer evasion was aimed at identifying ways in which we could interfere with this process as a way of treating cancer. In the Molecular Signalling group of the Centre for Cancer Biology I am studying the role of an enzyme which is also known to play a central role in cancer development and progression. We are currently examining several different aspects that could have a significant effect on how cancers are treated in the future.

What inspires your work?

From a research point of view, finding out something new each day inspires me. Each new experiment adds another piece to a complex puzzle that every scientist is adding to. I also like the daily challenges you face in science, problem-solving issues.

From a teaching point of view, I love being able to show first year students how much immunology they already know, for example allergies, the common cold and cancer all involve the immune system. I also enjoy meeting new cohorts of students each year and helping them to discover the wonderful complexity of the immune system as well as highlighting how much we still don’t know.

Areas of study and research

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